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Heavy rain heightens Lake Erie algae worries

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — State officials are concerned that the wet Ohio spring will bring toxic algae problems back to Lake Erie.

Heavy rain this year in northwestern Ohio has nearly doubled the average amount of phosphorus that washes off farm fields each spring and flows down the Maumee River to Lake Erie. Phosphorous, found in fertilizers, helps blue-green algae grow.

That's according to Jeffrey Reutter, director of the Ohio Sea Grant Program, who shared the data with state lawmakers in Columbus Wednesday.

But Reutter said it's too early to tell if there will be a major problem this summer.

The Columbus Dispatch (http://bit.ly/15PlC7X) reports that researchers tracked about 210 tons of dissolved phosphorus in the Maumee from March through April 29. About 120 tons would be considered typical.

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